October 2016 news – the return of the riders

It has been another busy year so far in Katoke and much has happened since our last edition!

The return of the riders

With their tyres pumped up, and their water bottles filled 17 cyclists and 8 support crew set out from Bathurst on 25th September to raise funds for our friends in Katoke. The 8 day, 900km Great Western ride took cyclists through NSW Central West – a truly remarkable part of the world. The route was spectacular and all riders were blown away by the scenery. Some days were very wet and strenuous but this didn’t deter our riders who were committed to complete the route and raise funds along the way! We are grateful for the riders and their sponsors who have raised about $20,000 so far which will be put towards our Staff accommodation project. A very special thanks to ride organizer Jim Blaxland who led the riders on yet another very successful journey.

School update

  • The recent form 4 Graduation was very successful despite an enormous downpour of rain half way through. Many guests came and the student items of singing and dancing were better than ever. It was a very happy celebration.
  • At least 50 of the 68 Form 4 candidates from the 2015 cohort were offered places in government A Level schools. Around 10 of those in the top schools. This is a stunning result for the School.
  • National exams for forms 2 and 4 begin in November 2016. The students are studying hard in preparation.
  • Form 1 registration for 2017 is well underway with many keen students registering for enrolment tests.
  • Five of our Form 6 graduates have begun University studies this week in various disciplines and at various universities in Dar Es Salaam. We are very pleased that their KLSS education has put them in good stead to continue tertiary studies and a career path in their respective fields.

Community mindedness –  We invited 3 sponsored form 6 students back as ‘gap year’ students and they have been terrific working with staff, with students struggling in language and maths, running a homework club and helping to organise our first ever KLSS choir competition. It’s been a good program and highlighted the importance of teaching community mindedness and Christian service. The school has begun a program in term 3 where form 1 and 2 students will spend one Saturday a month in the villages helping some very needy households in their tasks.

 Pastoral care – A more systematic and programmed approach to pastoral care has begun at the School with the responsibility given to “Year Coordinators”. Many individuals show good care and concern to students but of course, the boarding houses are crucial to care and good discipline. The form 6 gap year students have been helpful in strengthening this vital aspect of the School.

Recent visitors – We had another successful Danebank visit in June 2016. The Danebank students had a glimpse of life at Katoke, and experienced the classroom, a school debate, the choir competition, a village visit and church at Buhaya.  Short-term teacher volunteers, Judith Lambkin and Janet Douglas have also recently made valuable contributions to the School. Judith taught senior Maths and Janet assisted with administration and developing the timetable for Term 3. The students were very happy and their mentoring to the local Staff was appreciated. With their encouragement a program for struggling Form 2 students in Maths was developed by two of the local teachers.

 Building update

The site and building activities continue. The automation of the water systems is very helpful, building of the kitchen, staff flats and repairs of the dormitory are progressing. Peter Bragg, our business and logistics manager remains extremely busy every day. The continuing development of many areas is testament to his thoughtful efforts and amazing stamina.

Surveyor Garry Keats and his nurse wife Karen are currently in Katoke. Garry is carrying out survey work, continuing the work of architect, Geoff Deane who visited earlier in the year. Karen, a registered nurse, is putting her skills into action by working with the school nurse, Emelita, to treat the students’ daily ailments.

Garry will return to Australia with valuable information to assist with the continued development of the master building plan. Geoff also continues to work on the classroom and future boy’s dormitory designs back here in Australia. Our building priorities for the next 12 months include:

  • Staff accommodation
  • Boys’ dormitory
  • Girls dormitory

Other events

10 year diocese anniversary – Thousands gathered and were involved over four days in great rejoicing. In the last 10 years the Lweru Diocese has grown from 12 to 34 parishes under the good and wise leadership of Bishop Jackton Lugumira.

Vanilla bean plantations – Vanilla growing is taking off!  The price to the grower has jumped to about A$24 from about $A10 last year. Many more farmers are keen to start growing the crop and attending our field days.

Recent earthquake – We are thankful that the School was relatively unscathed by the recent earthquake. However, the Katoke pastor’s house was badly damaged and needs rebuilding. In the nearby town Bukoba and surrounding areas, 17 were reportedly killed and 250 injured. Major damage was done to shops, houses and infrastructure such as bridges and electricity lines. Anglican Aid has launched an appeal for those affected.

Other ‘Katoke’ charities – We have had reports of their being another organisation that exists that uses the word ‘Katoke’. Please be aware that we are in no way associated or involved with the “Katoke Childrens Development Training Center”.

 Volunteer opportunities

So that we can continue our building program we are urgently looking for people who would consider taking on volunteer roles at Katoke-Lweru Secondary School in the following areas:

  • Senior educator;
  • Expatriate building volunteers: required to oversee the proposed building construction;
  • Accounting/business administration/bursar;
  • Sponsorship co-ordinator; and
  • Teaching and support staff

If you’d like to find out more, about how you could make a difference in a successful school serving a stable developing nation, please contact Alan Watson (0422 225 556).

The year so far has been full of opportunity for learning and developing in so many ways. The students have studied and played and grown, the community of the staff has also had opportunities to work together but also to share the joys and sorrows and worries of life in some very real ways. We hope and pray and work so that may all continue and we all may be strengthened and matured.

 

Thank you to everyone for your continued support.

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